Saturday, March 30, 2013

2013 Refashion #4: Spring Silk Chiffon Blouse

Earlier today I completed my spring silk chiffon refashion. I can breathe easier now, and hopefully become more productive in the coming week for the remainder of the Essential Top Sew-A-Long that's concluding on April 7.

As a recap (previously blogged here):
The original garment was my 5-6 years old long dress from Zara Basic. It's silk chiffon, empire waisted with spaghetti straps and (originally) lined with acetate lining.

I wanted the look of View D, but without hem band, and short flutter sleeves (since I have to consider the available yardage here). For the sleeves, I used the pattern for View B's sleeves but left out the band. No need to accentuate my biceps with a band there methinks ;)

The pattern didn't come with pieces nor instructions for lining, so that added up to the time of thinking, plotting and whatnot (not including pattern resizing/alterations that came way before). I basically  just follow the instruction for adding the back bodice button placket.

Notice that the neckline gathers are not uniform? Bigger gathers on the right side (colored side) than the one on the left (white side)... Oh well... 

The collar is also not the same as the pattern. It's shorter/thinner, not  gathered and pieced with the back (loop-buttoned) section of the original garment.

The sleeve was 1) pieced - not enough fabric to cut as one, and 2) fully lined before attached to bodice.

Hemming was tricky since I had to hem the main fabric and lining together. I hide the hem stitching from showing on the outside by catching it to the lining side only... Kinda ripply no?

These shank buttons were thrifted, and was sewn onto a thrifted cardigan last year but I unpick them from the cardigan (the cardigan needs regular flat buttons). For the loops, I used the spaghetti strap of the original garment.

It fits "perfectly" enough (lol). In my book that means I feel comfy and not worry that my bits are unflattering-ly showcased. I would definitely be wearing this a lot. For the next make of this look, I would add more (will start with an inch) to the shoulder seams though to make space for the french seams.

Kinda thinking that white pants would be nice with this blouse... Maybe I can find one at the thrift store... I am going to make my very first cardigan top for my next 2013 Essential Top... More on this later.


p/s: Happy Easter to all who are observing the holiday :)

Linking on to Refashion Co-op, Recycled Fashion and Cation Design's March Stashbusting!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

work in progress: essential top #1

I'm starting off my 2013 Essential Tops sew-a-long with a refashion project. Of course :)

I have the tendency of getting side tracked whenever I'm in front of the pc (i also read blogs on my phone and once a while on the kindle fire, but most of the time i have the Law & Order on that) so am trying to keep this short and simple.

Here is my old silk chiffon maxi?/sundress from Zara Basic. Last time I wore it was when I was 6 mths pregnant:

I've cut off the original acetate lining and used it when making one of my muslin parts for the Peony Pink M6702 top since the picture was taken.

Isn't the print very spring-y? It seems to have some of the Pantone's 2013 Spring Color in it IMO...

This is the pattern I'm working from:

The neckline would be like View D, except that there won't be gathers on the collar and I want to incorporate the back/button loops of the original dress on the back side of the new top collar. And adding more button loops by using the original strap which matches the existing button loops...

I am planning to incorporate some sort of a sleeve based on the pattern piece for View B's sleeve, but will omit the band. No hem band like View D either.

Needless to say I've cut and slashed and taped the pattern pieces so much to accommodate sections of the dress.

Fully lining it with silk lining since it's chiffon and sheer, so it's quite fiddly. No pattern for the lining, so after a lot of thinking, I basted the chiffon to the silk lining and treated them as one. Chiffon is  tough and time consuming. I might have to rethink my initial plan of sewing up all silk chiffons for this sew-a-long. Maybe sew something else after this and then go back to chiffons. We'll see.

Stay tuned. With some luck, I might get to finish the top later today... Man... This post is not that short and sweet is it?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Liebster Blog Award and 2013 Essential Top Sew-a-Long

Sometime last year two of my sewing blog pals, Faye (of Faye's Sewing Adventure) and Deborah (of the now inactive blog The Tropical Sewist), presented me with the Liebster Blog Award. Thank you so much!! I am a follower of Faye's blog since I gave birth to the Bean (before blog) and got to know Deb via Burdastyle (also before blog). I think both of them must have been my very first back and forth with sewing bloggers (I usually just read rather than comment before...). They have always been very kind and encouraging to me. :) 

Back then I was not familiar with blog awards and then my family moved from the midwest to WA, with moving stress, apartment hunting and so on, naturally I forgot to send back the award out to other "new" bloggers.

Fast forward to 2013, it has been almost (but not quite) a year since the awards from Faye and about a year from the Starting at the Top (Spring) Challenge sew-a-long that she organized. Alas, the challenge blog is no longer there, but I think we (the participants) all were quite productive during Faye's 2012 Top challenge. I know I was! I made 4 tops during the 2 weeks sew-a-long:
  • #1: Spring Gingham Peplum Blouse (refashion project from a men's shirt)
  • #2: Draped front neckline top (from pattern Vogue 1282, Donna Karan Collection)
  • #3: My 3rd take of V1179 (My TNT, i converted this dress pattern into a top with long slim sleeves)
  • #4: A franken-top, with contrast piping. Initially was supposed to be an anniversary dress, but the print of the fabric screamed murder at me, so I saved it by chopping it off and layering it with contrast red fabric. ;) Since then, the red fabric bleeds into the main fabric in the wash.... Hah.

Needless to say tops must be what I sew most, and love to sew most. I wear them with my thrifted pants/jeans/skirts. Since I have not mastered (and my last attempt to make some skirts during Faye's Carnival of Skirts came out short) le bottoms last year, I need more of these nice, pretty tops/blouses to be the highlight of my outfit come spring and summer (when I can no longer hide under my black down jacket...). Again, our kind and dear enabler (or fearsome leader?), indulged her own needs and mine (and yours?) when she announced her latest sew-a-long:

Faye's amazing new button!

Do I want and need color and excitement in my wardrobe? YESSS!
Do I feel that tops are mostly easy to make? YESSS! More so than bottoms, most definitely!
Do I think that sewing tops going to wake me up from sleepy sewing motivation? Judging by the pile of UFOs that recently piling up (and just mentioned in passing) of non-tops, OHHHH YESSSS!!!

If you feel the same way as I do, and want to join us in Faye's 2013 Essential Top Sew-A-Long that's starting this weekend, just click on the picture above (or the button I am adding to my side bar after this post) and it will take you to Faye's page and explanation. :)

Oh yeah, and back to the Liebster Blog award... I was googling the award and stumbled upon this post discussing its origin. It seems like there are many different ways that people do with the award, but I am just going to do as Faye and Deborah asked: 

Nominating 5 blogs that has less than 200 followers :) 

unknown source to credit...

So the following are the blogs I nominate for this Liebster Blog Awards, in no particular order ;)
  • Liz - Haphazard Musings and Creations (Liz is a fashionista who probably never wears the same outfit in a month, let alone a week! In her blog she shares with us her knack of combining outfits (thrifted, non-thrifted, self made, etc etc), her food (she cooks!) and currently her new 1920s home revamping projects. I look forward to see her sewing room!!!)
  • Ellen - Button Lover (Ellen is a geologist who migrated to Australia. I wonder if she faced immigration blues like I did? Anyways, she sews, a lot, and even has a pin-up apron pattern that she shares for FREE on her blog!)
  • Njeri - The Cute Kipepeo (Njeri is a very very busy working mother of 1 son, who makes time to cultivate her love for card making, sewing and cooking. She shared some of her self-made cards on her blog, and gosh they are sooooo pretty!)
  • Agy - Green Issues (Agy is another fellow refashion enthusiast who writes about green issues (of course) and concerns about environment, features other bloggers who shares the same refashioning interest, and now also runs upcycling workshops in her adopted country Singapore!)
  • Sarah Liz - SarahLizSewStyle (Sarah Liz's blog is the latest blog I follow. She just started her blog in January, but she's been blogging diligently ever since! She documents her sewing experiments and shares with us her steps, and I can learn a lot just by following along her journey. She also shares with us her reading - currently sharing this 1928 styling guidelines book, which indeed drew a few LOLs from me, hehe)
There you go, 5 nominations from me. Maybe you ladies already received this award before, but that is not an impediment to accept this one. And on the same token, by no means that you have to accept even if you never received one. :) But if you do, I'd ask that you also nominate up to 5 new blogs (by "new" I am taking it to mean blogs that have not more than 200 followers. It will be a great opportunity for us to discover new blogs to read and find inspiration from, eh??? :)

Mucho love,

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bloglovin' It...

I've been reading all these posts re the impending closure of Google Readers and thought that for once I should be more proactive and start looking on a way to preserve my blogroll/blog list so that I won't lose track of the blogs I've been reading. I am not good at all at following blogs, or participating in link parties and such, so naturally my list is still manageable although the more I blog on my finished projects and the more I discover of other blogs on my usual must read list, I am bound to add them!!! You see, it is tricky IMO. The more sewing blogs/people I read, the more inspired and more ideas come to me, the more I want to make, but yet now the time to make it is being cut shorter by all the time I'm spending online! Do you have this problem too??

Anyways, back to being proactive on this Google Reader situation, so I added myself onto Bloglovin early this morning. Transferring my Google Reader list onto Bloglovin seems quite seamless ;) By no means am I saying that this is the best way or anything, but it is the simplest way for me right now. Now I can go on my merry way, adding more blogs on my read list, and not to worry about losing them (until of course they decide to say bye bye).

p/s: I know I've been changing the look on my page so many times, I don't know if anybody finds it annoying. If you do, my apologies. I can't help myself. It's like I always want to edit the clothes I just finished sewing, you see. Felt like I'm just rearranging the sofa and desks and cushions around my living room.... I wish I know how to make the page nicer or start from scratch. Alas, I don't know how to web design, so I'm stuck with the template...

Have a great weekend!!!

~ Far

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Peony Pink McCall's M6702

This is the top I finished this morning! My best top so far IMHO... :) I thought I'd make a proper post on this, but I am quite tired (had a longg day out with the Bean, and he is still jumping around! Usually he will fall asleep on the bus, but he hasn't had a nap all day. Maybe we will get lucky and he will go to sleep earlier tonite!) and then we are having out-of-town visitors... So better share these pics now before I start other projects next week ;)

Pattern: McCall's M6702, view B (Misses' pullover top, have collar and front bands, self-lined yoke back, hem variations), size ZZ (Lrg-Xlg-Xxl). View B has one pocket...
Fabric: Midweight linen (Peony Pink) purchased online from Gorgeous Fabrics a year ago

I cut a size Large, and tapered towards xxl at the bottom. L was too big on my shoulder (fit fine on my bust area), but I like the way it flows on the bottom. I made 2 muslins to get the right shoulder fit and sleeves for me. 

The hem at the back is longer, with curve on the side...

Kinda proud of my topstitching on this top.. Quite neat I must say... Must be the linen!

I changed the back to a pleat in the middle rather than gathers that the pattern suggested... I didn't like the gathers on my back on the muslin.

Added a small snap on button, so that I can have the option of not wearing a tank top underneath...

I love the style a lot of course. It's very me.. I'm going to wear it with skinny jeans or leggings or jeggings with flats.What else would you wear it with?

Friday, March 8, 2013

2013 Refashion #3: Thrifted Curtain to Tote Bag

I was in need of a bag to take to the SewExpo. What I had at home were too structured (canvas bags or thickly interlined bags), or too small (grocery reusable bags). I wanted a soft bag that I can fold or roll into my handbag, sturdy and big enough to carry my sewing kit and purchases, and I want to carry it cross my body. Basically I wanted a crossbody tote bag...

Enter this lovely curtain I thrifted from Goodwill a couple of weeks ago:
It's pretty simple looking, with horizontal stripes of shades of red and orange. It felt like a southeast asian weaved cloth, you see. Like one of those bags or fisherman pants you'd get from the night markets in Thailand or Cambodia. Anyways, that was why I brought it home, and even though I wanted to save it from the scissors (initially) I didn't. After all, why have nice fabric if I don't use it?

Now obviously there were many decision making that took place before it got to the stage of sewing.  For example, deciding how big I want it to be....

I cut 4 pieces of 22 x 24" (2 pcs for the body of the bag and 2 for lining/inside) and 2 pieces of 40 x 4.5" (for the straps). Then prepared the pockets and such for the inside.

To assemble my layers and attach the zipper, I viewed Elizabeth of SEWN's process, and followed this tutorial from Bemygoth.

Unassuming basic looking crossbody tote bag
Finished dimensions: Approx 20 x 15 x 6". Straps: 38".. :) It's quite huge on me that a lady observing me sitting and arranging my purchases into the bag at the shopping booths exclaimed: "Now that's a tote bag!!!" LOL.

Just a heavy duty black and copper ish 22" zipper, purchased for a diff project but no longer need it for that

View of inside pockets:

Outside looking in

Inside out: Smaller pockets with 2 sections for pens sewn onto a bigger pocket with repurposed (from Ikea seat cushion) sew on velcro
Inside out: An oversized pocket with repurposed sew on velcro

So voila. That was it. Started on Friday morning. Finally done by midnight the same day since there's this and that to do around the apartment and with the Bean. Super useful the whole day on Saturday at the expo. Even my camera case fits in there with the rest of the things:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

'twas sew much fun at the SewExpo!

It was my very first experience at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo ever, and it did not disappoint! I am so glad to be living near enough to attend this year. Hubby and Bean the toddler dropped a squealing me off that morning and went back home.

My jam-packed schedule (that I coordinated with my sewing meetup buddy, Amy) started with a quick ogle around the booth areas -there were so many people- and then I headed straight to the Simplicity fashion show at 9.30 a.m. where I was to meet up with my sewing meetup friend Sherry who saved me a seat at the front row with her daughter and friend! :) We were given a handout with a list of pattern numbers of the outfits to be modeled ahead of time which to an expo-newbie me thought a great idea! For me it was esp helpful to see the clothes on the runaway to find out the type of fabric used. 

My favorite outfit though must be what the emcee was wearing! She (Debra Kreiling of Simplicity) made it herself based on Simplicity 1650, a project runway collection, princess cut bodice with peplum dress in black. She added a cuffed elbow length sleeves and it really complemented her petite and curvy self. It is always more inspirational when I see how other women made patterns work for them. I really like the princess bodice of this peplum, and the neckline, but preferred it to be a separate rather than a dress.

Caught up with Amy who sat a few rows behind us, we rushed out to find our first class in another building but not before first indulging ourselves in a scone for me and strawberry shortcake for Amy. The first class was a 1 needle ($5) seminar by Lorraine Henry on "What Comes First in Fit?"

... which is of course, measuring... Lorraine was quite funny :) and while I did jot some notes, I will have to sit down and revisit her handout again as she shared with us a condensed version of alteration procedures. I was quite excited by her two way tapes, and booklet Measuring Made Easy (at the end of the day, was able to stop by her booth and purchased a set to be delivered home as they ran out of a copy by then) which I can see will help me measure myself better. To be honest, I have been winging it with my measuring and pattern alterations a lot, so just seeing "live" what is meant by measuring high bust and so on was way much better for me than seeing it in books. I mean, now I can imagine stuff better when I see these explanation in books.

After the seminar, Amy and I stopped by the Vogue Fabrics booth before going into the 11.15 a.m. fashion show. I've purchased from them online before and very satisfied with what I got so was super excited to see they were at the expo (Hmm, now I am thinking if the Vogue Fabrics and Vogue patterns are the same company. Are they? Somehow I didn't think so all these while...Anyways, lots of fabric were purchased by me at Vogue Fabrics in 2 separate ocassion, although I can't recall now when in the day the first set of purchases were made) 

The fashion show (Fashion Trends & Sewing Tips for 2013 Vogue, Butterick, McCall's & Kwik Sew Patterns) was hosted by Pati Palmer, and one of the models was Marta Alto. Yes! It is kind of funny that I was so excited to see them on the stage. :) One of the patterns I like most was M6601 print silk blouse made and modeled by Marta. And I kinda like the red wool crepe V1327 neck twist dress by Anne Klein, but probably interpret it into a sleeved blouse than a dress with those waist seamed pleated skirt that doesn't suit me.

Next class at 12.30 was another one needle seminar: Thread Therapy with Dr. Bob (Bob Purcell of Superior Threads). Very very informative. He gave us quite a few pages of notes to take home! Too bad I didn't get to find his booth. But, here's what I got:
I am certified, y'all. Hehe.

Didn't get to shop during lunch... We bumped into our sewing meetup fearless leader :), and then Amy and I grabbed lunch. Then, while our sewing meetup group met somewhere to catch up around the grounds, we marched on to our 3 needle class "Embeadery" on Fabric.

Here is Amy with our instructor, Cindy Rowell.

I enjoyed the introductory class immensely. We get to actually work on a mini project (picture below is of our kit, supplied by Cindy), so it's quite hands on.

Amy and I left just a little bit earlier to get to our last seminar of the day at 4.30pm at another building. The seminar, Tissue Issues by Peggy Sagers of Silhoette Patterns, must be my most favorite class of the day. There was just something about her way of talking and explaining that just resonated with me. She seems like a no-nonsense kinda lady, but yet not in an intimidating kind of way and came across as very genuinely wanting us to achieve what we wanted. It was too short a session IMO, but it was only a one needle class anyways. Since then, I have watched a couple of her past webcasts. If you want to catch her LIVE webcasts on myriad of sewing related issues, she goes on air every alternate Monday nights starting at 8pm CST where you can have live Q&A too. Lucky for me, they will post these videos online on her Silhoette Patterns website.

Oh, at each of these classes there were lucky draws, and my ticket numbers came close a few times, but as usual, not lucky enough compared to Amy ;). We split up at the booths, and I guess we had about 30-40 minutes to shop before the expo ends for the day.

On to my loot:
Must have been my first purchase of the day, in the morning. Quilt template and chalk marker at the Clover booth, with free measuring tape. :)

Fabric love:
From the 2.5 yds remnants section of Vogue Fabrics L-R: Black, Black with white and red print Silk chiffon, orangey rust silk chiffon, green with orange, red and cream swirls silk twill?, another silk twill and a black with small prints thin silk charmuese (which I might make into M6601 like Marta once I get the pattern).

Knits L-R: 2 yds of yummy orange knit from Marcy Tilton's booth (last purchase just as they were closing up shop. I wished I had more time to look at their fabric or attend their seminars/fashion show.), and 2 more pieces from Vogue Fabrics a designer poly-lycra crepe in cobalt blue (3yds),  and another knit which i can't recall but I like the colors a lot (i can't remember, it could be 3 yds or 5 yds).

 First fabric purchase of the day from Vogue Fabrics L-R: 2 silk chiffons and a silk twill (all 2 yards).

I also  purchased some patterns from Silhoette Patterns (they had a buy 3 and get 4th free package):

Two very achy but satisfied SewExpo attendees:

p/s: I was wearing my red wool knit V1179 and lugging a HUGE zippered tote bag I made the day before from thrifted a panel of woven curtain (yet to be posted).

Thoughts: I wished I had more time to go around the booths. I didn't even take any time to visit quilt related booths as promised to my mom, and must have missed out on some deals on quilting fabric and infos. Hubby offered to take me the next day, but I thought 4 hours total of driving on Saturday (send, home, pickup, home) for him and the Bean were a bit much, plus I had tonnes of quilting fabric in my stash (90% were thrifted in Iowa) that should be sewn up first.

Maybe it is only my first time at a sewing expo, or maybe because this is the biggest (or one of) sewing expos here in the US, I didn't feel like it is overwhelmingly catering only for quilts and crafts. There were quite satisfying a number of booths and classes that are for apparel sewing enthusiasts IMO, and I hope next year there will be even more. Amy and I are already planning for a 2 day participation next year, with a probable hotel stay nearby where the hubby and Bean can hang.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

February's Completed Filler DIY Projects

Wanted to document these here on Friday, but in my excitement for the first Sewing & Stitchery Expo I was attending on Saturday (today, oops, yesterday now...) I spent the whole Friday making me a huge shopping tote bag... I am still in euphoric state post-expo, despite muscle sore and aching feet. I will share what I get to see and do (and haul back) on the one day I spent at the expo probably sometime next week.

So, here are the pics of what I made/finish in February in between garment sewing. (I find that pattern fitting/alterations, cutting fabric and so on can be a tiresome process and I do get brain tired, so other than wasting time on netflix, I also make other stuff like these, before soldiering on...)

Started and finished in between the jacket resizing and relining project:
1) Pincushion from remnants

2) Cushions and cushion covers for my thrifted chair (for sewing nook)

This was a UFO patchwork project started last year, finished as a quilt topper (45" x 50"):

Seat cover (quilted) made during the white and yellow flowy sleeveless top project:

Matching mismatch (wink) placemats: